Mountain Pictures and Others

Hazel Blossoms


John Greenleaf Whittier

THE SUMMER warmth has left the sky,
    The summer songs have died away;
And, withered, in the footpaths lie
    The fallen leaves, but yesterday
    With ruby and with topaz gay.

The grass is browning on the hills;
    No pale, belated flowers recall
The astral fringes of the rills,
    And drearily the dead vines fall,
    Frost-blackened, from the roadside wall.

Yet through the gray and sombre wood,
    Against the dusk of fir and pine,
Last of their floral sisterhood,
    The hazel’s yellow blossoms shine,
    The tawny gold of Afric’s mine!

Small beauty hath my unsung flower,
    For spring to own or summer hail;
But, in the season’s saddest hour,
    To skies that weep and winds that wail
    Its glad surprisals never fail.

O days grown cold! O life grown old
    No rose of June may bloom again;
But, like the hazel’s twisted gold,
    Through early frost and latter rain
    Shall hints of summer-time remain.

And as within the hazel’s bough
    A gift of mystic virtue dwells,
That points to golden ores below,
    And in dry desert places tells
    Where flow unseen the cool, sweet wells,

So, in the wise Diviner’s hand,
    Be mine the hazel’s grateful part
To feel, beneath a thirsty land,
    The living waters thrill and start,
    The beating of the rivulet’s heart!

Sufficeth me the gift to light
    With latest bloom the dark, cold days;
To call some hidden spring to sight
    That, in these dry and dusty ways,
    Shall sing its pleasant song of praise.

O Love! the hazel-wand may fail,
    But thou canst lend the surer spell,
That, passing over Baca’s vale,
    Repeats the old-time miracle,
    And makes the desert-land a well.

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